Monday, June 07, 2010

2010 Montreal Jazz Fest picks

As always with the jazz festival, there are a gross amount of conflicting shows. Lots of big outdoor events, and this year there is as much jazz outside as inside, alongside all the electronics, international grooves and hip-hop. Below are my picks of the festival, divided into indoor and outdoor shows. There is no possible way to see everything. It should also be noted that pianist Dan Thouin is hosting the official festival jam sessions at l'Astral this year in the company of bassist Adrian Vedady and drummer John Fraboni. Each night, they'll be joined by special guests including Frank Lozano, Joel Miller, Benoit Charest and Erik Hove.

Due to space, I'm letting my recommendations go without comment. Bios are available at

EDIT: Always go with your first instinct. Commentary has been added.


June 25 - Vijay Iyer two ways - solo at Chapelle historique de Bon Pasteur, 7 pm; trio at Gesu, 10:30 pm [Vijay's Historicity was deservedly the talk of best-of-2009 lists, and having seen glimpses of his solo piano work at Banff I'm very curious to hear him solo in the great space of Bon Pasteur]
- Yosvany Terry Quartet at L'Astral, 9:30 [I'm a sucker for the fusion of Latin rhythms with sophisticated jazz composition and Terry does it at a very high level]
- Paolo Fresu & Omar Sosa, Gesu, 6 pm (part of Fresu's Invitation series) [Interested to hear this pairing of Fresu's trumpet, which I must admit I'm not so familiar with, with the pan-Afro-Caribbean pianism of Sosa]

June 26 - Jean Derome & les Dangereux Zhoms, L'Astral, 6 pm [local musique actuelle supergroup led by one of the founders of the scene]
- David Sanchez Group, Theatre Jean-Duceppe, 9:30 (with Omar Sosa opening) [see my love for forward-thinking Latin-influenced jazz]

June 27
- Chano Dominguez Flamenco View (also June 28), Theatre du Nouveau Monde, 8 pm [Dominguez's hybrid of flamenco with jazz intrigues me; I'm not familiar with it and I think it may be best witnessed live]

June 28
- Marco Benevento solo, Chapelle historique de Bon Pasteur, 7 pm [big fan of Marco's work with the Duo and his own work as a leader; interested in seeing how he ties in his use of pedals and electric instruments into a solo show]
- Chet Doxas, L'Astral, 6 pm [a stalwart local tenor player and composer, whose music is equally indebted to Lovano, Giuffre and Frisell]

June 30 - Bobby McFerrin Vocabularies (with choir from College Laval), 6 pm, Theatre Maisonneuve [What is there to say about Bobby McFerrin? High level vocalism, and I'm interested to see how he presents the cut-and-pasted choirs from the new album with a live collegiate choir]
- Dave Douglas & Keystone, Gesu, 10:30 pm [I'm an overall fan of Dave's work, especially the programmatic nature of Keystone, scores to the movies of Fatty Arbuckle]
- Jose James & Jef Neve duo, Savoy du Metropolis, 7 pm [James is in the midst of defining what it means to be a 21st century male jazz singer, and his rapport with Neve is a must-see]
- Joel Miller featuring Geoff Keezer (also July 1), Upstairs, 7 & 9 pm [Joel is a great friend and a local inspiration, and Geoffrey Keezer is a highly impressive and inventive pianist]

July 1 - John Zorn's Masada Marathon, Theatre Maisonneuve, 6 & 9 pm [looks like it will be a mix of the electric and acoustic configurations of Masada with a whole whack of the best improvisers around]
- Charles Papasoff, L'Astral, 6 pm [another local saxophonist/composer whose music I always find intriguing; I have not yet seen him live]

July 2 - Gretchen Parlato Band (also July 3), Savoy du Metropolis, 7 pm [I can't get enough of Gretchen's two records, a phenomenal singer with a great ear for reworking repertoire]
- Jack DeJohnette Group, Theatre Jean-Duceppe, 8 pm [a supergroup led by possibly my favourite living drummer - Rudresh Mahanthappa on alto, Dave Fiuczynski on guitar, George Colligan on piano and Jerome Harris on bass. To me it looks a bit like an odd grouping on paper but I'm fascinated to hear it]
- Robert Glasper w/ Terence Blanchard, Gesu, 6 pm [Glasper came up in Blanchard's ranks and I love both of their playing]
- Adam Rudolph's Moving Pictures, Gesu, 10:30 pm [Rudolph is a percussive multi-instrumentalist with influences from all over the globe]

July 3 - Robert Glasper w/ Bilal, Gesu, 6 pm [boundary-pushing jazz-influenced R&B, or is that R&B-influenced jazz? Who knows? It will be fantastic]
- Andreya Triana, Bonobo & Mr. Scruff, Metropolis, 8:30 pm [a Ninja Tune triple bill - Andreya is a luscious voice to be heard and Bonobo & Scruff will keep the party rocking]

July 4 - Allen Toussaint solo, Gesu, 6 pm [for anybody who cares about the history of New Orleans music and New Orleans piano playing in particular, this will be a master class]
- Bugge Wesseltoft solo, Chapelle historique de Bon Pasteur, 7 pm [Norwegian "nu-jazz" phenom whom I've only heard in group projects, very curious about his solo concept]

July 5 - Allen Toussaint Bright Mississippi, Theatre Jean-Duceppe, 9:30 pm [the touring version of his acclaimed last record, with another interesting "on paper" grouping: Nicholas Payton, Don Byron and Marc Ribot]
- Christian Scott Quintet, Gesu, 10:30 pm
- Gale/Rodrigues Group, Upstairs, 7 pm & 9 pm [local B3 advocate Vanessa Rodrigues and her group with Toronto tenor Chris Gale; I'm a sucker for the mighty B]


June 26 - Remi-Jean Leblanc, TD Jazz stage, 6 pm [the bassist to watch in town, on upright and electric, is also a fantastic composer]
- October Trio, CBC/Rad-Can stage, 8 & 10 pm [Vancouver/Toronto group - saxophonist Evan Arntzen also plays with Amanda Tosoff, and was in Banff with me this past year; great young players to discover]

June 27 - Parc-X Trio, CBC/Rad-Can stage, 8 & 10 pm [my boys! Back in the Grand Prix competition after a stellar performance last year garnered them an honourable mention]
- Elizabeth Shepherd Trio, Rio Tinto Alcan stage, 8 & 10 pm [really fascinating pianist/singer/songwriter that gets odd meters to groove and sway; sophisticated, intelligent pop music]

June 28 - Isaac Neto (also June 29 & 30), Balmoral Bistro, 9 pm [my good friend and colleague, a brilliant Brazilian guitarist and singer]
- Narcicyst, Bell stage, 10 pm [member of hip-hop collectives Euphrates and Nomadic Massive, an insightful, incisive MC]

June 29 - Cameron Wallis, CBC/Rad-Can Stage, 8 & 10 pm [another local saxophonist/composer, man about town, musical director for many great singers and a compositional voice to follow]

June 30 - Slavic Soul Party, TD Stage, 9:30 & 11 pm [holding down the weekly residency at Barbes in Brooklyn with their Balkan brass madness]
- Le Golden, Bell stage, 10 pm [formerly known as Jedi Electro, the francophone session wizards unite for improvised electronic goodness]
- LA-33 (also July 1), Bell stage, 8 pm [who doesn't love a mambo version of the Pink Panther theme? but are they a one-trick pony? Curious to find out more]

July 1 - Rich Brown & rinsethealgorithm, TD Stage, 6 pm [Toronto electric bass stalwart with his band influenced by the London "broken-beat" scene, a group of old friends from T.O.]
- Jose James Blackmagic Band, TD Stage, 9:30 & 11 pm [see my comment about James above; this is the band performing his more R&B/electronic leaning work]
- Rafael Zaldivar Trio, Festival stage, 7 pm [Cuban pianist extraordinaire featuring my colleagues Nic Bedard and Kevin Warren]

July 2 - Chicago Goes West, TD Stage, 6 pm [drummer Karl Schwonik, Nic Bedard once again, and Chicago trumpeter James Davis; great straight-ahead trio with inventive arrangements]

July 3 - Amanda Tosoff, TD Stage, 6 pm [Amanda's group was out at Banff, she writes some beautiful music and the band concept grew by leaps and bounds out there]

July 4
- Michelle Gregoire, CBC/Rad-Can stage, 8 & 10 pm [Winnipeg-based jazz advocate whom I'm eager to discover]
- L'Orchestre Septentrional d'Haiti (also July 5), Bell stage, 8 pm [I honestly don't know anything about them but in Montreal it seems I'm surrounded by Haitian music and this is a great opportunity to get it from the source]

July 5 - Emir Kusturica's No Smoking Orchestra, TD stage, 9:30 pm [I know Kusturica mostly as a director who furthered the reputation of Balkan trumpet virtuoso Boban Markovic; this will be a lot of fun]
- NOMO, Bell stage, 10 pm [Detroit-based Afrobeat]
- Terry Clarke/Don Thompson/Phil Dwyer, CBC/Rad-Can stage, 8 pm [three Canadian jazz masters]

July 6 - Closing Mardi Gras with Allen Toussaint, Trombone Shorty and the Soul Rebels Brass Band, TD stage, 8:30 pm [do I really need to explain this one? Again, if you care about New Orleans music at all, this cannot be missed]
- Late night closing party with Soul Rebels Brass Band, L'Astral, midnight


sean said...

For those of us who aren't jazzoes, man, "without comment" is really, really disappointing. Am always really grateful and reliant on recommendations from those with a wider context. Maybe next year?

Ryshpan said...

Thanks, Sean. I debated whether to add commentary but I thought it might make the post too unwieldy. Watch this space for comment, then.

sean said...

really, really grateful for this.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the insights and suggestions. Let the wild rumpus start.


Anonymous said...

geeze thanks a ton for doing this. Exactly what I was looking for to guide me through this monstrously vast and talented lineup, both indoors and outside. Very much appreciated!!!